Caliber choice for Mule deer/Elk????


Active Member
Dec 26, 2015
If you were to pick a caliber to build a rifle around for a mule deer/elk rifle what would you pick and why? Would be used with shooting ranges being from 100-700+ yards.
I bought one in 2002 (but was never able to go elk, moose, or caribou hunting), and my choice still stands (if I ever get to go)... 7mm STW with Berger 180 Hybrids or the new Berger 195 Elite Hunters.

Other good options would be the .28 Nosler, .300 Ackley or .30 Nosler with Berger 215 Hybrids.

Most people will tell you to buy a .30 or .338 or bigger... But that's subject to personal preference.
Go with a 30 cal or bigger for elk. Not that the smaller calibers wont kill them, but the 30 does if faster and cleaner when larger bullets are used. (200 gr up)

This in my personal preference :D after being there for the taking of 113 elk in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and field dressing most of them myself. I like them dead not walking around waiting for a follow up shot.

7mm Short Action Ultra Magnum is my preference, but as indicated above (and probably lots below)....lots of great options. Not a big fan of .30 caliber rifles on Deer. With 7SAUM, I will shoot 160 gr pills at Deer and 180 gr pills at Elk, which is plenty. The 7SAUM is a laser out to 700+ yards.
Another vote for .30 cal or larger, esp. when elk is in the mix!

^^yup, .30 drops them. It's a given shot placement is paramount and there are lots of elk taken with smaller calibers. Mule deer can get quite large and are pretty tough. My second choice would be a 7mm like Mud's STW or a Rem Mag.
Depends on how frequently you'll hunt elk. If I were to pick a cartridge for shooting an elk at 700 yards I wouldn't go any smaller than a 300 Win Mag. That would be my recommendation for a good all-around rifle. Shoot 200 grain Accubonds, 208 ELD Match, 212 ELD-X, or 215 Berger Hybrids. If you're hunting mostly deer at longer ranges, and only hunt elk on occasion, a fast 7mm would be a great choice. I think they're decent elk guns out to 500 yards or so but I still prefer a .30 or .338 for elk. If you choose a 7mm take a look at the 7mm-300 Win Mag. It will do pretty well with the 180 grain bullets.
7-08 with 140 grain Partitions/Accubonds

However, I already own a Model Seven in 7 SAUM that shoots 160 grain Accubonds at 2950 fps.
Definitely agree with the 30 cal's or better!! 300 ultra with 210 Berger's is bad medicine for any critter!!!
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